The Dutch have a scrummy winter treat … Oliebollen …Literally ‘Oil bulbs’ in Dutch … but don’t let that put you off these things are delicious.

They’re traditional winter fayre in Holland especially around New Year.

The recipe given here is the traditional one; for a change however you could add preserved ginger or pineapple, or even chopped fresh apple to the dried fruit. To save time, make the batter the evening before it is needed. These quantities should make about twenty fritters which sounds a lot but… be warned… in some Dutch families you have to cater for about ten oliebollen per person!

Prep Time : 20 minutes (excluding time to let the mix rise)
Cook Time : 20 minutes
Total Time : 40 minutes (excluding time to let the mix rise)
Serves : Approximately 20 fritters


  • 75 g (2.5 oz; 0.5 cup) currants
  • 75 g (2.5 oz; 0.5 cup) raisins
  • 15 g 0.5 oz) baker’s yeast or 1 tsp. dried yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 150 ml (5 fl.oz; 0.5 cup + 2 tbsp.) milk
  • 250 g (8 oz; 1 2/3 cup) plain flour
  • 0.5 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Litre (2 pts; 1 qt) vegetable oil for deepfrying


  1. Wash and dry the currants and raisins.
  2. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the milk.
  3. Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl, mix in the lemon zest. Make a well in the middle, add the dissolved yeast mixture and work into a third of the flour.
  4. Lightly beat the eggs and add to the bowl.
  5. Using a wooden spoon, beat vigorously until all these ingredients form a smooth batter.
  6. Mix in the fruit.
  7. Cover and leave in a warm place until the batter has doubled in volume, or overnight in a cool place.
  8. Heat the oil in a deep pan until very hot (190 C /375 F)
  9. Using a ladle dipped in the hot oil (or an ice-cream scoop), lift spoonftils of the dough – each about the size of an egg, and drop into the hot fat. Fry for about 5 minutes, turning as necessary, until a deep golden colour on all sides. Do not fry too many at a time, as it is important that the temperature of the oil remains constant to avoid the oliebollen becoming greasy.
  10. Drain on kitchen paper.


  • Dust the oliebollen with icing sugar and serve warm or cold … and enjoy!